For: Anti-Racist Education



This paper argues that democratic education in a racist society requires anti-racist pedagogy. Because traditional approaches to democratic education conceive racism in terms of personal prejudice, they cannot adequately address the problems that racism actually poses. Racism is structural and institutional as well as embodied and ideational; if education is to do more than refine social expressions of and responses to racism, it must take on racism as a way of framing meaning and value. The paper argues that this cannot be accomplished, however, if anti-racist education is conceived in terms of reactive or corrective argumentation. This is because a reactive or even a corrective response to racist arguments accepts the terms of racism even in arguing against them. To avoid invoking the very assumptions and framework we mean to discredit, we must shift out of the racist framework altogether. What this means for education, the author argues, is that we need to appeal to art and performance as ways to reframe and reconceive race relations. The paper closes with examples of a performative pedagogy addressed to anti-racist goals.